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“Little did we know we would be imprinted in Atlantic history”
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“Little did we know we would be imprinted in Atlantic history”

A year has passed since Hurricane Tomas lashed the Caribbean, killing some 70 people and devastating lives and livelihoods. Genitta Pascal, 19, a Commonwealth Correspondent from St Lucia, reports on the aftermath.

We woke up that Friday morning looking forward to the Jounen Kweyol holiday activities at our schools, business premises and local communities. We had anticipated that it would have been a festive weekend, until the telecommunication networks and the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) informed us of what was to come.

Very few precautions were taken. We thought perhaps it was just another petty storm warning like many others in the past. We believed that we were out of harm’s way. Little did we know we would be imprinted in Atlantic history in few hours to come.

On October 30 2010, hurricane Tomas was at category one with winds of 90 to 95 miles per hour. We had found ourselves in a very dire situation. Reports from different media revealed the aftermath and how the agricultural sector suffered from significant damage. The country’s physical infrastructure was badly damaged resulting in a disconnection between the north and the east, south and west of the island.

Schools too were greatly affected as 15 per cent of buildings suffered from extensive damage. Water supplies were dealt a severe blow with all 28 water production facilities being affected. Residents on the island’s west coast suffered severely and lives were lost. The town of Soufriere was rendered accessible only by boat .

Millions of dollars were allocated in order to begin with the island’s recovery. Donor organizations, regional governments and individuals donated food and clothing. But a year later and not much has been accomplished since then.

Communities such as Bexon and Marc are still suffering from heavy flooding when it rains. There is hope though. As at 13 September 2011 there were reports of plans to rebuild an important bridge in Soufriere which leads to the main tourist attractions on the island .This initiative will be funded by the World Bank.

Undoubtedly, it is in our best interest to take preparedness seriously to curb damage and prevent loss of lives in future, because the forces of Mother Nature are beyond our control and cannot be eliminated.

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About me:

“Born in Dominica, I was diagnosed in 1996 with leukemia and subsequently received a bone marrow transplant in Dominica and chemotherapy in Trinidad. I then took up residence in Saint Lucia in July 1999.

“In spite of my medical challenge, I have been academically successful and I’m now touring the world of work. My future ambition is to become a human resource manager. I also intend to assist underprivileged and idle persons.”

More here: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/list-of-contributorscorrespondents/

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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